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"A clean heart create for him, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit." Psalm 51:12

Catholic Teaching and the Question of Evolution

Many people today see theories of evolution as in being direct conflict with faith.  This is a position that Pope Benedict XVI refuted in a question and answer session with priests.  "He affirms, the theory of evolution does not require denying God."  (As reported by Zenit News Service in article entitled "Pontiff: Evolution Does Not Exclude a Creator," July 27, 2007 online at http://www.zenit.org/article-20238?l=english.)


To understand what the Church or science has to say about evolution we must understand what questions they are trying to answer.  Science is interested in questions of how the universe was created.  Science wants to explain the physical mechanisms that led to the universe as we know it.  The church is interested in the questions of why and how in a philosophical sense the universe was created.  Vatican I formally taught that the universe was created ex nihilo (out of nothing).  However, the church does not seek to provide an explanation in physical terms of how the universe came to be as it is today.  Rather, the church seeks to answer why.  The church seeks to find out what is the meaning of life.  The church seeks to know the being, God, that created the universe.  Science provides answers for how God may have done it.  It does not explain why.


For those who have a scientific education and find it unnecessary or difficult to believe in a God when science can explain "everything" (which it doesn't) I direct you to the example of Rev. John Polkinghorne.  For 25 years he worked as a quantum physicist.  In his book, "Quarks, Chaos, and Christianity" he tells how his work in quantum physics did not cause him to reject his faith.  In fact, the "beauty" he found in quantum physics inspired his faith.


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""Because on one hand," he explained, "there is a great deal of scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and that enriches our knowledge of life and of being as such. But the doctrine of evolution does not answer everything and does not answer the great philosophical question: Where does everything come from? And how does everything take a path that ultimately leads to the person? " Pope Benedict XVI (As reported by Zenit News Service in article entitled "Pontiff: Evolution Does Not Exclude a Creator," July 27, 2007 online at http://www.zenit.org/article-20238?l=english.)